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Purple Heart/sapwood

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by baceface, Mar 26, 2015.


  1. baceface

    baceface

    Dec 28, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    Hey builder folks.. I'm in the process of getting a bass built and he had recently put it on the chopping block, really great guy too. He pretty much gets his wood locally, but we both talked about the possibility of a purple heart fretboard showing the sap wood.

    Do any of ya'll have a good resource to possibly find/purchase online? Its a 4 stringer, 36" scale.

    thanks in advance.
     
  2. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    I prefer most woods, especially fret boards to have some sapwood in them. That being said, I don't thin I have ever seen purple heart with sapwood.
     
  3. baceface

    baceface

    Dec 28, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    I've seen it in the past and recently saw a few on Cliff Bordwells site. Purple Heart would be my top pick because thats my wifes favorite color and there's other purple heart accent layers.

    if impossible to find, I'm not opposed to cocobolo with sapwood but looking for a reliable place to find the wood.
     
  4. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    Cocobolo is easily found with sapwood. That's probably my favorite fretboard if talking about exotics.
     
  5. HaMMerHeD

    HaMMerHeD Supporting Member

    May 20, 2005
    Norman, OK, USA
    The problem is that a mature purpleheart tree's sapwood layer is very thin, compared to other woods. I've never seen a purpleheart board with sapwood on it.
     

    Attached Files:

  6. michaelwayneharwood

    michaelwayneharwood Builder of the Wastelands Commercial User

    May 1, 2014
    Colorado
    Owner Melodious Resonance Constructs
    If anyone DOES find a place to pick some up please update this thread so I can get in on the action! ;)
     
  7. Hopkins

    Hopkins Supporting Member Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2010
    Houston Tx
    Owner/Builder @Hopkins Guitars
    That explains why I have never seen it
     
  8. baceface

    baceface

    Dec 28, 2014
    Pennsylvania
  9. baceface

    baceface

    Dec 28, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    He posted a cool pic on 3/19 of some nice boards.
     
  10. baceface

    baceface

    Dec 28, 2014
    Pennsylvania

    Yes, but me first... please. Lol
     
  11. michaelwayneharwood

    michaelwayneharwood Builder of the Wastelands Commercial User

    May 1, 2014
    Colorado
    Owner Melodious Resonance Constructs
    Word! Right now I am hunting other wood species, but this is on my watch list.
     
  12. baceface

    baceface

    Dec 28, 2014
    Pennsylvania

    The best place I came up with on a referral is Hearne Hardwood in Oxford, Pa. Apparently their storage facility is the size of 2 home depots stacked. Only thing is they have so much exotic wood there that they don't send pictures and would have to go there to hand pick... Its about 2 hours away so unsure if I'm going to try that route but they have ph and European Plum that looks pretty cool too
     
    Deep Cat likes this.
  13. Deep Cat

    Deep Cat Supporting Member

    thanks in advance.[/QUOTE]
    I'd totally drive 2 hours to hand pick my lumber. I'm lucky that I don't have to. but I would.
     
  14. baceface

    baceface

    Dec 28, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    Im thinking about it, lol
     
  15. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    Hearne Hardwood is a decent place. The actual facility might be the size of 2 Home Depots, but the sections with retail bins is not. I don't think they invite people to wander around the warehouses where they store flitches and so on, but they might take you there if you want something they don't have in the retail section. It's a weird place in that the exotics are stacked up high. African blackwood is stacked like 8 feet off the ground. So, certain species are hard to browse. I don't recall what their purpleheart selection was like, but yeah, you don't see a lot of sapwood in general. They probably strip it at the mills because the bugs like to eat sapwood.

    I guess if Hearne says on the phone that they have it then they have it. Just be warned that sometimes lumberyards have something but not what you want and/or barely any of it. Hearne has a lot of other stuff so sometimes you can soften the blow by buying a bunch of stuff you didn't come for. There's also a place Groff & Groff that is nearby so you can blow a whole day hunting wood.
     
    baceface likes this.
  16. baceface

    baceface

    Dec 28, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    Good to know! I'll check into Groff as well
     
  17. The problem with with Purple heart is that, in time, it wont stay your wife's favorite color.
    Purpleheart changes to a dark shade between purple and brown over time, and with exposure to UV light. I UV inhibiting finish will help preserve the color but ultimately it won't last forever.
    Here is a video of a bass with a purpleheart fingerboard, note it's current color:

    The bass' fingerboard was originally a splendid purple hue, and you can see how, by the headstock, it's retained some purple. A pic of the original can be found on the Bee Basses website, under "Bee Keepers" and then "ChaotH" (which is under construction ATM).

    Of course I don't mean to scare you away from purpleheart, because I love it and the color, but for my personal build I decided Bloodwood, which stays red, would be a better choice.
     
    baceface likes this.
  18. baceface

    baceface

    Dec 28, 2014
    Pennsylvania
    I'm aware of the purple heart propaghanda, lol. I used to work in cab/furniture shops. I figured it would last a few years though and by that time, the shock factor is gone anyway.

    I was careful about choosing other woods too, for instance, the body is maple core sandwiched with accent layers of purple heart and the top and back are bubinga. When the purple fades, it will look closer to walnut and still (hopefully) show accent against the 2 other colors basically looking like walnut. I was thinking the fingerboard would be cool if I could find a good one but Im not 100% on that part.

    Awesome chops on that vid! That bass is a beast
     
  19. michaelwayneharwood

    michaelwayneharwood Builder of the Wastelands Commercial User

    May 1, 2014
    Colorado
    Owner Melodious Resonance Constructs
    Agreed! Is that you playing @BioWeapon?
     
    BioWeapon likes this.
  20. Ooooooh no. My playing isn't up to par with his.
    I wish it was though! :D
     

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